How to Tell if Spam is Bad After opening? | Chef’s Advice

Oh no, you opened that can of spam and now you’re not sure if it’s still good. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

First off, let’s clarify what we mean by “bad”. Spam is a processed meat product that can last for a long time in the can, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily taste good or be safe to eat. Spoiled spam will have a funky smell or taste. It will also have a slimy, jelly-like texture after opening.

So, how can you tell if your spam is bad after opening?

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Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Check the expiration date: This is the easiest way to tell if your spam is still good. If it’s past the expiration date, it’s probably not safe to eat.
  2. Look for signs of spoilage: If your spam has gone bad, it might have a strange odor, be discolored, or have a slimy texture. If you notice any of these things, it’s best to toss it out.
  3. Taste a small amount: If you’re still not sure if your spam is bad, you can taste a small amount to see if it has a funky flavor. If it tastes off, it’s best to play it safe and throw it away.

But let’s be real, if you’re eating spam in the first place, you’re probably not too concerned about food safety. So, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to take your spam-eating to the next level, here are some creative ways to use up your potentially-bad spam:

Spam fried rice

Cook up some rice, add some diced spam and veggies, and fry it all up in a pan. It might not be gourmet, but it’s a classic way to use up leftover ingredients.

Spam musubi

This is a popular Hawaiian snack that combines spam, rice, and seaweed. It might sound strange, but it’s surprisingly delicious.

Spam and egg sandwich

Fry up some spam and an egg, put them between two slices of bread, and you’ve got yourself a quick and easy breakfast sandwich.

Spam mac and cheese

Cook up some macaroni and cheese, add in some diced spam, and you’ve got a hearty and filling meal.

Now, we’re not saying you should eat bad spam on purpose (seriously, food poisoning is no joke), but if you happen to have some past-its-prime spam in your pantry, these ideas might just save the day. Just make sure to use your best judgement and don’t take any unnecessary risks when it comes to your health.

7 Signs Spam Has Gone Bad

Spam is a processed meat product that can be found in most grocery stores. It’s popular due to its affordability, long shelf life, and ease of preparation. However, like any other food product, spam can go bad over time. In this article, we will discuss seven signs that your spam is spoiled, and why it’s important to discard it if it’s no longer good to eat.

Foul Smell

One of the most noticeable signs of spoiled spam is a foul smell. If you open the can and are hit with a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s a clear indication that something is not right. Spoiled spam can smell rancid or sour due to the growth of bacteria or other microorganisms. If you’re in doubt, trust your nose and discard the spam.


Spoiled spam may also have a different color than fresh spam. It could look discolored or have dark spots that are different from the usual pink color of fresh spam. Discoloration can be an indication that the spam has gone bad, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

Slimy Texture

If you notice a slimy texture on the surface of the spam, this is another sign that it’s gone bad. The sliminess is usually a result of bacterial growth, and it’s not safe to consume. It’s best to discard the spam if you notice a slimy texture.

Unusual Taste

Spoiled spam may taste sour or bitter, indicating that it’s not safe to eat. It can have an unusual taste that’s different from its usual salty, savory flavor. If you taste spoiled spam, you should immediately stop eating it and discard the rest.


If you notice that the can of spam is bloated or swollen, it’s an indication that there’s a buildup of gas inside. This could be caused by bacterial growth, and it’s best not to consume the spam. A bloated can could also be a sign that the can has been compromised, so it’s important to discard it immediately.

Expired Date

If you have a can of spam that has exceeded its expiration date, it’s best to discard it. The expiration date is usually an indication of how long the spam will remain fresh and safe to consume. Eating expired food can lead to food poisoning, so it’s not worth taking any chances.

Mold Growth

If you notice mold growing on the surface of the spam, it’s a clear sign that it’s spoiled. Mold is a type of fungus that can grow on any organic material, including meat. It’s not safe to eat spam that has mold growth, so it’s best to discard it immediately.

How to Tell if Spam is Safe to Eat?

Here’s a table listing various signs of fresh spam:

Sign of Fresh SpamDescription
Pleasant SmellFresh spam has a pleasant, meaty aroma. It should not have a strong or unpleasant odor.
Uniform ColorFresh spam should have a uniform pink color, without any dark spots or discoloration.
Firm TextureFresh spam should have a firm texture that’s not too soft or too hard. It should be easy to slice and handle.
Salty, Savory FlavorFresh spam has a salty, savory flavor that’s similar to ham or bacon. It should not taste sour, bitter, or unusual in any way.
Sealed CanFresh spam should be in a sealed can that’s not bloated or swollen. The can should be free from any dents, punctures, or other damage.
Valid Expiration DateFresh spam should have a valid expiration date that’s not exceeded. The date is an indication of how long the spam will remain fresh and safe to consume.
No Mold GrowthFresh spam should not have any mold growth on the surface. Mold is a type of fungus that can grow on any organic material, including meat. Fresh spam should be free from any signs of spoilage.

Can you still eat spam that is past its expiration date?

The expiration date on spam cans is a guideline for when the food is at its best quality, but it does not necessarily mean that the spam is spoiled or unsafe to consume. However, if the can shows signs of bulging, leaking, or an unusual odor, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

What are the dangers of consuming spoiled spam?

Consuming spoiled spam can pose serious health risks, including food poisoning, bacterial infections, and other illnesses. These can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and dehydration. In severe cases, it may even require hospitalization or lead to long-term health problems.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it’s important to pay attention to the signs of spoiled spam to prevent any health hazards. Always check the expiration date, look for signs of spoilage, and discard any spam that doesn’t look or smell right. While spam is a convenient and affordable food option, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Related Questions

How is spam made?

Spam is made by combining ground pork shoulder with chopped ham, salt, sugar, and various seasonings. The mixture is then canned and cooked under high pressure to create a sealed, shelf-stable product. Spam is a convenient and affordable source of protein that can be eaten as is or used in a variety of recipes.

Is spam healthy?

Spam is high in protein, but it is also high in fat, sodium, and preservatives. While it can be a convenient and tasty option for occasional consumption, it should not be considered a healthy food. Eating too much processed meat like spam has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health problems.

How long does spam last?

Spam is a shelf-stable product that can last for a long time if stored properly. Unopened cans of spam can last for up to two years in the pantry, while opened cans can last for up to a week in the refrigerator. It’s important to check for signs of spoilage before consuming any canned meat product, including spam.

What are some ways to cook spam?

Spam can be cooked in a variety of ways, including frying, grilling, baking, or microwaving. It can be sliced and used as a sandwich filling, diced and added to soups or stews, or crumbled and used as a topping for pizza or pasta dishes. Some people even enjoy eating spam raw, although this is not recommended due to the risk of foodborne illness.

Is spam gluten-free?

Spam is a gluten-free product, as it does not contain any wheat, barley, or rye. However, some varieties of spam may contain other ingredients that are not gluten-free, such as modified food starch or soy sauce. It’s important to check the label and ingredient list carefully to ensure that the product is safe for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Can spam be frozen?

Yes, spam can be frozen for up to six months. Freezing can extend the shelf life of canned meat products like spam and is a good option for those who want to stock up or save leftovers. However, it’s important to thaw frozen spam properly before using it to avoid any safety risks.

What are some alternative uses for spam?

In addition to being eaten as is or used in various recipes, spam can also be used in a variety of creative ways. Some people use it as a bait for fishing, while others use it as a doorstop or a decorative item. Spam has even been used as a material for creating art and sculptures.

Why is spam so popular in Hawaii?

Spam is a popular food in Hawaii due to its affordability, convenience, and versatility. It was first introduced to the islands during World War II, when American soldiers brought canned meat products with them. Spam quickly became a staple of the Hawaiian diet and is now enjoyed in a variety of dishes, including spam musubi, spam fried rice, and spam and eggs.

Are there any variations of spam?

Yes, there are several variations of spam available, including low-sodium, lite, and hot and spicy. There are also regional variations, such as spam with Portuguese sausage flavor in Hawaii or spam with garlic in South Korea. Some people even create their own custom flavors by mixing different varieties of spam together.

What is spoiled spam?

Spoiled spam is canned pork meat that has undergone chemical or microbial changes that make it unsafe or unpleasant to consume. This can be caused by various factors, such as exposure to air, moisture, heat, or bacteria.

What are some common causes of spam spoilage?

Spam spoilage can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacterial growth, exposure to heat or light, moisture, oxygen, or cross-contamination. Improper storage, such as leaving an opened can out in the open for too long, can also lead to spoilage.

How can you prevent spam from spoiling?

To prevent spam from spoiling, it is important to store it properly, such as in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. It is also important to follow safe food handling practices, such as washing hands and surfaces thoroughly, cooking food to the correct temperature, and avoiding cross-contamination.

Can you still eat spam that has a few spots of mold on it?

No, it is not safe to consume spam that has mold on it. Mold can produce harmful toxins that can cause serious health problems. Discard any spam that shows signs of mold or discoloration.

Can you freeze spam to extend its shelf life?

Yes, you can freeze spam to extend its shelf life. Place the spam in an airtight container or freezer bag, and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before consuming.

Can you cook spoiled spam to make it safe to eat?

No, cooking spoiled spam will not make it safe to eat. The toxins produced by bacteria cannot be destroyed by cooking. Discard any spam that shows signs of spoilage.

What should you do if you suspect that you have consumed spoiled spam?

If you suspect that you have consumed spoiled spam, monitor yourself for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or abdominal pain. Seek medical attention if you experience severe or prolonged symptoms. It is important to practice safe food handling and storage practices to prevent spoilage and potential illness.

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